Copyright ©The Author(s) 2015. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Stem Cells. Nov 26, 2015; 7(10): 1202-1214
Published online Nov 26, 2015. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v7.i10.1202
Dedifferentiated fat cells: A cell source for regenerative medicine
Medet Jumabay, Kristina I Boström
Medet Jumabay, Kristina I Boström, Division of Cardiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1679, United States
Kristina I Boström, the Molecular Biology Institute at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1570, United States
Author contributions: All the authors contributed to this paper.
Supported by In part by the American Heart Association (Medet Jumabay); NIH grants P01 HL30568, R01 HL81397, and R01 HL112839 (Kristina I Boström).
Conflict-of-interest statement: The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article which was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See:
Correspondence to: Medet Jumabay, MD, PhD, Division of Cardiology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Box 951679, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1679, United States.
Telephone: +1-310-2674951 Fax: +1-310-2068553
Received: January 22, 2015
Peer-review started: January 22, 2015
First decision: March 6, 2015
Revised: September 22, 2015
Accepted: October 12, 2015
Article in press: October 13, 2015
Published online: November 26, 2015

The identification of an ideal cell source for tissue regeneration remains a challenge in the stem cell field. The ability of progeny cells to differentiate into other cell types is important for the processes of tissue reconstruction and tissue engineering and has clinical, biochemical or molecular implications. The adaptation of stem cells from adipose tissue for use in regenerative medicine has created a new role for adipocytes. Mature adipocytes can easily be isolated from adipose cell suspensions and allowed to dedifferentiate into lipid-free multipotent cells, referred to as dedifferentiated fat (DFAT) cells. Compared to other adult stem cells, the DFAT cells have unique advantages in their abundance, ease of isolation and homogeneity. Under proper condition in vitro and in vivo, the DFAT cells have exhibited adipogenic, osteogenic, chondrogenic, cardiomyogenc, angiogenic, myogenic, and neurogenic potentials. In this review, we first discuss the phenomena of dedifferentiation and transdifferentiation of cells, and then dedifferentiation of adipocytes in particular. Understanding the dedifferentiation process itself may contribute to our knowledge of normal growth processes, as well as mechanisms of disease. Second, we highlight new developments in DFAT cell culture and summarize the current understanding of DFAT cell properties. The unique features of DFAT cells are promising for clinical applications such as tissue regeneration.

Keywords: Adipocytes, Dedifferentiated fat cells, Adult stem cells, Pluripotent stem cells, Differentiation

Core tip: Multipotent dedifferentiated fat (DFAT) cells provide evidence of plasticity in adipocytes. The newly established DFAT cells exhibit vigorous proliferation and multipotent abilities with advantages over other adult stem cells. Modified culture methods reduce the risk of contamination by cells from the stromal vascular fraction to a minimum. In in vitro and/or in vivo experiments have revealed adipogenic, osteogenic, chondrogenic, myogenic, angiogenic and neourogenic potentials in DFAT cells. Moreover, the DFAT cells express embryonic stem cell markers and are similar to induced pluripotent stem cells in certain physiological aspects. Based on the abundance, ease of preparation, homogeneity, and multi-lineage potential, the DFAT cells are uniquely suited for regenerative medicine.